Where do the good ideas come from? In this column, we offer our readers the opportunity to learn about—and benefit from—some of the cutting-edge technologies being implemented by law enforcement colleagues around the world.
MapScenes PointCloud Software Helps Garner Conviction in High-Profile Fatal Crash
This year’s verdict in a Florida case involving a Bentley slamming into a Hyundai and pushing it into a canal two years ago demonstrated the important role technology plays in presenting evidence accurately in court cases. This is how Troy Snelgrove, an investigator for the Palm Beach County, Florida, Sheriff’s Department, viewed the case, especially after learning a Florida jury had convicted Houston, Texas, millionaire John Goodman of DWI manslaughter and vehicular homicide for crashing his Bentley into Scott Wilson’s Hyundai, whereupon Wilson died.
Snelgrove knew he had to prove that there were no visual obstructions for the vehicles’ drivers as they were about to collide. He used a Sokkia 530R3 reflectorless total station to map the crash scene for an eventual 2-D diagram. Also instrumental for recreating the crash scene was the MapScenes PointCloud software, designed to powerfully display the visualization of point cloud data and run side-by-side with a computer-aided design (CAD) window. This meant that whatever evidence was captured was visible in both the CAD and the PointCloud software windows.
Snelgrove generated 2-D diagrams of the roadway itself and of other the evidence, since his goal was to animate the crash scene with MapScenes PointCloud. Shortly after producing the diagrams, Snelgrove’s department acquired a scanner that became ideal for texture mapping the point cloud he created.
“I wanted to be able to say, ‘Here’s the animation as the car drives through, and the 2-D drawings over the animation and the point cloud to show that it’s dead on,’” Snelgrove said. “I’m verifying that my point cloud is correct based on my total station drawing. It’s my interpretation, but the animation was doing exactly what I was explaining.”
For information, visit http://www.mapscenes.com.
Howard County, Maryland, Goes Digital with RealView’s CommandScope Program
The Howard County, Maryland, Department of Fire and Rescue Services announces the implementation of a new technology called the Command-Scope All Hazard Pre-Incident Plan program. Command Scope gives first responders access to critical preplan information, both on-site and en route, including maps, photographs, utility shutoff locations, floor plans, fire protection systems, hazardous material information, critical occupant information, and emergency lockdown procedures about the site to which they have been dispatched.
“The countywide system will allow all of our emergency personnel—fire, police, mutual aid, and more—to have access to the valuable data they need when responding to a call,” said county executive Ken Ulman. “This new technology will save us critical minutes that will ultimately help save lives and keep our first responders safe.”
New information is immediately synchronized across hundreds of devices, and the upload process is simple. The building information gathered and updated will be accessible to law enforcement, hazardous response units, emergency management, and first responders in other counties, provided they have mobile devices.
“Gone are the days when we store this information on paper and in binders that are hard to access,” said Fire and Emergency Management Services Chief William Goddard. “This technology puts the latest building details at our fingertips so we can coordinate our efforts to quickly and efficiently take action, among ourselves and among those first responders from other counties that provide us with mutual aid support.”
CommandScope has successfully imported preplans for nearly 6,000 commercial properties in Howard County. Firefighters and paramedics also have received the necessary training to operate the system, and each crew is working to complete additional preplans. By obtaining this information prior to arriving on the scene of an emergency, agencies are furthering their commitment to prevent line-of-duty deaths and injuries.
For information, visit http://www.realviewllc.com/in-the-news/newsletter-articles/commandscope-completes-federal-nims-adherence.aspx.
Bode Technology DNA Collection Kits Help Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Improve Outcomes
In 2009, the Los Angeles, California, County Sheriff’s Department identified the need for a property crime kit that would be easy to use for a criminalist, a crime scene investigator, or an officer, and easy to process for an analyst. Bode Technology designed a property crime kit using the Bode SecurSwab Collector for the department that was launched in a pilot program to study the results of using DNA technology in property crime. During the initial phase of the program, the lab achieved a 73 percent Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) hit rate from 92 samples that were entered into CODIS.
“A pilot program servicing several agencies was very successful based on the number of DNA hits obtained per evidence items,” says Steve Renteria, DNA tech lead and CODIS administrator at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Since that initial evaluation, the program has continued and now includes 1,400 samples from approximately 1,000 property crime cases. In the expanded program, 75 percent of the samples were CODIS eligible, and 63 percent of those samples submitted have obtained a hit.
The SecurSwab collection devices are designed to integrate the collection, labeling, protection, preservation, transportation, processing, and storage of DNA evidence.
“Solving property crimes through the use of DNA analysis will be beneficial to the residents of Los Angeles County,” Renteria added.
Bode Technology serves the law enforcement and identification markets and provides state-of- DNA analysis, innovative DNA collection products, and advanced information technology solutions. Its patented DNA collection systems are in use worldwide for collections of DNA from convicted offenders, arrestees, and crime scenes. ♦
For information, visit http://www.bodetech.com.